DreamWorks Animation said Thursday that the company will lay off about 500 people and will reduce the number of movies it makes. The move comes after two failed merger attempts and a series of box-office failures in 2014.
The studio, which is now one of the smallest in Hollywood, said it had to take the cost-cutting measures to "ensure the consistent and profitable delivery" of films, The New York Times reported, citing the company’s CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Katzenberg called the earlier method of releasing three films a year "too ambitious," as he called for a cutback. The studio now plans to release only one film this year and thereafter, only two films every year after 2015. He added that the studio will take a restructuring charge of $290 million and will also close an animation branch in Northern California.
"I think we were top heavy and given that we are right sizing the entire operation and focusing the company on the businesses we are in today, rather than businesses we imagined we might be in, this is the right sizing that we need," Katzenberg said, according to Variety. Earlier this week, media reports had estimated the number of job losses at 150 to 400, much lesser than the number the studio has now revealed.
The cost-cutting process is reportedly likely to save the studio around $30 million this year, and a total of $60 million by 2017.
Amid the restructuring, three senior executives are leaving the company -- Dawn Taubin, marketing head; Mark Zoradi, chief operating officer; and Lewis W. Coleman, vice chairman, the Times reported.
"Given that we’re narrowing the focus of the company over the next two to three years, we’ve tried to bring our executive suite in line with a more focused agenda for the company," Katzenberg said, according to Variety, adding that he will now be more involved with the production of films at the studio. "My time and my focus needs to be on making blockbuster films ... We have the people to do it. That’s where my energy is going to be focused," Katzenberg said, during a call with analysts after announcing the reorganization.
The company’s morale were slightly boosted after its movie, "How To Train Your Dragon 2," was nominated for Oscars, after winning the Golden Globe for the Best Animated Feature Film earlier this month. The movie generated $618 million across the world, up from the first part’s $495 million revenue in 2010, Variety reported. However, it still missed expectations in North America.
The company said that it will focus on six films in the coming three years: "Kung Fu Panda 3" (March 18, 2016), "Trolls" (Nov. 4, 2016), "Boss Baby" (Jan. 13, 2017), "The Croods 2" (Dec. 22, 2017), "Larrikins" (Feb. 16, 2018), and "How to Train Your Dragon 3" (June 29, 2018).